Voting Begins in Round One of the Writing with the Stars Contest (successor to American Title)
Voting opens today at RTBookReviews.com for Round One of the Writing with the Stars Contest. Here are the first paragraph and last line of Aliya Arabesque as well as Mentor Emma Lang's comments:
ROUND ONE: BEST FIRST PARAGRAPH AND LAST LINE October 11 - October 26
The sandstorm swept across the desert of Saudi Arabia, leaving nothing but fury in its wake. Blinded by the flying sand, Aliya Roberts could see no more than the figure of an Arab standing over her. His white headdress concealed his face, and his white robes flapped in the wind. Was he a mirage in her delirious mind? Was he a whisper within the howling wind? She reached for him, finding the leather of a riding boot. God hadn’t abandoned her this day in An Nafūd Desert, or as her late Arab mother had called it, Allāh’s garden. He had done so, though, on another day halfway across the world, shattering her heart.
Sheikh Farūq sat behind Aliya on his stallion, looking out across the golden sands of An Nafūd, as the sun dropped beneath the horizon, enveloping them in its orange glow. “Your destiny brought you across a world to me, and mine sent me through a sandstorm to you. I challenged my world to have your hand, even as you surrendered your heart to forgive my people. No longer are you Ms. Aliya Roberts of New York, but now `Āliya of Arabia, the only wife of the sheikh of the al-`Āziz, today, tomorrow, and forevermore.” His words swept across the desert, burning themselves into the sand. “It is written by Allāh.”
Mentor Emma Lang's Comments:
Madeline began to put herself into the book as a reader while we worked on the first and last lines. Many readers form opinions on the first page. Madeline found her voice here in the first line and was able to immerse the readers immediately into the An Nafud desert, to feel the desperation in our heroine and wonder about the mysterious man of Saudi Arabia. On the last line, her imagery leaves a golden sparkle to carry with the ultimate happily ever after.